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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
It's been awhile since I've posted as my '66 Galaxie was in storage half a continent away. It's back now and I've done a little bit of work to it since it's been back. Most notably I've put a new HEI distributor in it. Honestly I don't care if you would or wouldn't put the part in, it's my car and understand if you wouldn't do it to yours.
Anyways, since the swap the 289 stumbles in the higher rpm range. Its wearing a 500 cfm holley 2bbl that I picked up second hand and installed awhile ago. Before the swap it idled smoothly and pulled strongly through the range. We were very careful to make sure to install the distributor in the correct position and no mater where we index it it idles just a little off. If I have the vacuum hose connected between the carb and dizzy it idles a little rough and there is noticeable hesitation and misfiring through the range.
I know there are a ton of factors here.
There are a few things that jump out at me but I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas. Could the ignition wire be of too small a gauge? Perhaps the timing is off, how might I check this when the marks are not visible? I do have a timing light but I've never used one. The vacuum issue is puzzling me though.
I'd like to get this combo to work but I do have the original parts to swap back if I have to. Any ideas?
Thomas
 

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Hello all,
It's been awhile since I've posted as my '66 Galaxie was in storage half a continent away. It's back now and I've done a little bit of work to it since it's been back. Most notably I've put a new HEI distributor in it. Honestly I don't care if you would or wouldn't put the part in, it's my car and understand if you wouldn't do it to yours.
Anyways, since the swap the 289 stumbles in the higher rpm range. Its wearing a 500 cfm holley 2bbl that I picked up second hand and installed awhile ago. Before the swap it idled smoothly and pulled strongly through the range. We were very careful to make sure to install the distributor in the correct position and no mater where we index it it idles just a little off. If I have the vacuum hose connected between the carb and dizzy it idles a little rough and there is noticeable hesitation and misfiring through the range.
I know there are a ton of factors here.
There are a few things that jump out at me but I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas. Could the ignition wire be of too small a gauge? Perhaps the timing is off, how might I check this when the marks are not visible? I do have a timing light but I've never used one. The vacuum issue is puzzling me though.
I'd like to get this combo to work but I do have the original parts to swap back if I have to. Any ideas?
Thomas
you dont care . OK you installed the part . plus I don't care if you use it or not . you got what you asked for

fix it or live with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
you dont care . OK you installed the part . plus I don't care if you use it or not . you got what you asked for

fix it or live with it
If that came off as crass it was because I was just trying to mitigate any flaming over my choice of part. Just looking for some help, and boy you were sure helpful!
 

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If that came off as crass it was because I was just trying to mitigate any flaming over my choice of part. Just looking for some help, and boy you were sure helpful!
Hint.. "since the swap". you got a timing light . learn how to use it .
 

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Anytime you change something there is the wonderful opportunity for other stuff to jump in the way.

Make sure all your vacuum lines are hooked up and in good shape.

The gauge of your wires should not be a problem but is it possible you don't have all your caps locked down tight. Verify all your spark plug wire routing is correct as well.

You really do need to break out your timing light. Even if you don't have damper marks or don't trust them to be correct you can still time the engine fairly close.

The vaccum advance shouldn't be pulling any vacuum at idle so that sounds suspiciously like it is hooked up to the wrong place. Your old distributor might have had the vacuum advance blown or locked down so it wouldn't do anything and now all of a sudden with the new distributor it is working but hooked to full vacuum instead of ported vacuum. Find a vacuum port on the carb that is not pulling any vacuum at idle.
 

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You can make your own marks with a sharpie and be within 2* of accurate timing which is accurate enough. The hesitation and missing you are seeming to have may be emanating from that crap hei you are using.
They like spark scatter at times, and the coils fail as regularly as any other coil.

Regardless of the Dist you are using, if the problem got there AFTER putting in this Dist, then take the darn thing OUT. That is what Dan was hinting at....

Go back to the other config and see if your performance comes back to normal.

And using a timing light is simple you hook up red to red and black to black and the clip thingie to the #1 spark plug wire, then start the car and watch the flashing light.

Simple schmimple. :)
 

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You can make your own marks with a sharpie and be within 2* of accurate timing which is accurate enough. The hesitation and missing you are seeming to have may be emanating from that crap hei you are using.
They like spark scatter at times, and the coils fail as regularly as any other coil.

Regardless of the Dist you are using, if the problem got there AFTER putting in this Dist, then take the darn thing OUT. That is what Dan was hinting at....

Go back to the other config and see if your performance comes back to normal.

And using a timing light is simple you hook up red to red and black to black and the clip thingie to the #1 spark plug wire, then start the car and watch the flashing light.

Simple schmimple. :)
FE , wasnt hinting to remove the china made dist . the problem is the dist. or the installation
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After a little messing around I found that the new air cleaner base was keeping the choke linkage from opening up all the way. After some massaging the problem was fixed and it runs beautifully now. The vacuum is still stumping me however. It idles smooth and pulls strong with the vacuum hose detached and terribly if it's on. I did swap it onto the other vacuum port on the carb just in case I had that wrong and it would barely run. I'm going to put the old carb back on next weekend to try and narrow down the problem.
 

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After a little messing around I found that the new air cleaner base was keeping the choke linkage from opening up all the way. After some massaging the problem was fixed and it runs beautifully now. The vacuum is still stumping me however. It idles smooth and pulls strong with the vacuum hose detached and terribly if it's on. I did swap it onto the other vacuum port on the carb just in case I had that wrong and it would barely run. I'm going to put the old carb back on next weekend to try and narrow down the problem.
learn how to use the timing light .
 

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When you set your timing the vacuum advance should be disconnected and plugged at the carb. This is so you can rev the engine and check your total mechanical advance without the vacuum coming on. Once the timing is set you can re-connect it but for it to work it has to be a ported vacuum line.

It is easy enough to find the ported vacuum. Just hook a short hose to each one and see which ones are pulling vacuum at idle. The one that has a very weak vacuum if any on it is the ported one. I can't remember for sure but I think there are 3 small vacuum ports on the 500.

I don't think you need to swap carb's since it runs fine with the advance disconnected. Your timing is off and probably caused by the vacuum advance. Either you set it with the advance pulling it up or you have it set right but are on a full vacuum line for the distributor. Either will make it not run at all or barely run.

You can also verify which situation you have using the t i m i n g l i g h t.

Trying to help.
 

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What Hottarod said - with a slight exception.

You do need to set your timing with the hose disconnected and plugged (I'd start with 10 degrees and go from there). After that, run it on the vacuum port of your choice. Ported vs manifold vacuum, try both and see what runs better.

With manifold vacuum, you will be able to get away with the added advance because it only comes in when the engine has no load. Some cars like this, others will work better on ported.

I ran a cheap HEI dizzy for a while. I blamed every problem under the sun on it and replaced it with a stock Ford dizzy. Turned out that it was not a problem, but I haven't missed the clearance issues the HEI causes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Broke out the timing light and set the timing at 6 degrees TDC as per manufacturers recommendation. It wasn't far off from where I had it but I did retard the timing about 3-4 degrees.

I do have a question about the vacuum ports on the carb though. There are two on the front and one on the back. The one on the back has a cap on it and is of large diameter. Of the two front ports there is one that pulls vacuum at idle and one that doesn't. As per some of your recommendations I have the vacuum on the dizzy hooked up to the one that doesn't pull at idle. My question is what should be done with the other port. If I put a cap on it the car won't idle correctly and drivability is trashed. Is this carb designed for a system with more vacuum options? I could go back to the stock carb if need be.
Any ideas?

Thanks for the tips so far and getting me to finally break out the timing light and learn to use it, wasn't nearly as daunting as I was fearing.
 

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What you are saying is that your car idles BETTER with a VACUUM LEAK. That means that you are way rich on your idle, and that you have a huge constant vacuum leak that can certainly affect your drivability.

All unused vacuum ports have to be capped. The large one at the back can be used for PCV or brake booster, or capped if not needed. The upper one in front is the one that doesn't have vacuum at idle (AKA ported vacuum), the lower one is full manifold vacuum. Use one of these for your vacuum advance to the HEI, and plug the other one.

Now you'll need to start over on your carb's tune, since it has your vacuum leak tuned in to it. Turn the idle adjuster screws on either side of the metering block to GENTLY seated, then back off 1.5 turns.

You may need to turn in the idle speed screw too, since you've plugged your vacuum leak.

Start the car, let it warm up, and set the idle speed to about 700 RPM. Then turn the idle adjust screws (on metering block) in 1/8 turn on both sides until you get best vacuum (if you have a vacuum gauge) or highest RPM (if you have a tach), or it sounds cleanest if you have no gauges. When it stumbles, you've gone too far, just back off 1/8 turn until it cleans up.
 

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Also 6 degrees of advance is a good, safe starting point. Bump it up to 8 and test for preignition. Full throttle up a hill is when you will hear the rattle of preignition. If you hear it, stop driving immediately and go back to what worked previously.

If no problems, keep going up until you do get preignition or performance suffers. 10 degrees is a common good setting.

There's a lot more to setting your timing curve than this, and the HEI will have good tuning options including bushings to limit total timing and weights and springs to tailor the curve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all of your help. I've plugged the unused vacuum port, set the timing at 9 degrees for right now and adjusted the carb accordingly. I don't think the Gal has been this happy since I got it running 2 years ago. Next to tackle is the cooling issue, but that's for another thread if I get stumped!
Thanks again!
Thomas
 
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